The Risks and Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

risks and benefits of trt

If there is one topic that continues to gain momentum it has to be testosterone therapy. The hope of getting testosterone levels back to where they used to be, has not only inspired millions of men to seek therapy, but it has also opened the online market for all types of boosters.

As you are reading this, another new type of testosterone booster is trying to establish itself on the market.

But the focal point of this article isn’t going to be the boosters. Instead, it is going to look at the more intense method of restoring testosterone levels, and these methods typically require a prescription.

So, if you think you are struggling with low testosterone and might require therapy, the risks and benefits will also be included. Just to be clear, the information in the article is based on research done by Harvard Medical School, which is published on their Harvard Health Publishing site.

Why Some Guys (and Women) Need Low Testosterone Therapy

As mentioned, there are millions of men trying to either regain their testosterone levels. And in some cases, it is used as a boost to build body mass and muscle. Either way, going to the doctor and making a request for testosterone therapy isn’t something you just do.

Because the moment something requires a prescription or the go-ahead from a licensed doctor, it means there are possible consequences involved.

However, the marketing campaigns for testosterone boosters want the majority of men to believe all their problems come down to one simple solution. This created the frenzy of men running to their doctors for prescription low testosterone therapy, but many of them got shot down.

The Why

Because their testosterone levels were fine. While it is true that the body creates less and less of this hormone as it ages, it doesn’t mean every guy should jump to the extremes and beg for low testosterone therapy. In fact, it is with good reason that the body slows down production of the hormone.

But before getting into the risks and the benefits, it’s important to get some issues out of the way. For example, how do you know you have low testosterone?

Possible Signs & Symptoms of Low Testosterone

There are several ways the lack of this hormone can negatively influence your well-being. They include:

a man with low t is very tired

Mental Health

  • You feel more depressed on a regular basis
  • You won’t feel as self-confident as you should
  • A lack of concentration
  • You have a hard time sleeping

Physical Health

  • Body and muscle mass will decrease
  • It will be easier for the body to gain fat
  • Less energy
  • Your breasts might become swollen or even sensitive
  • You suffer from hot flashes

Sexual Health

  • A lack of sexual interest
  • Erections don’t happen as spontaneously
  • You have trouble maintaining an erection

What’s important to take away from the above-mentioned signs is that you shouldn’t be alarmed by just one or two. A lack of energy can be caused by many things, hence the reason for paying close attention to the signs before asking for low testosterone therapy.

The Risks of Low T Therapy

a nurse with a stethoscope

A gel or injection is the typical method for administering testosterone, and there are definitely some concerns you should take note of. But one of the most important factors is that once therapy starts, the body will most likely stop creating the hormone naturally.

This is better discussed with your doctor, and as for the rest of the risks, they include:

Low T Treatment Side-Effects

It happens very rarely, but on occasion, some guys have experienced some immediate side-effects to the therapy. For instance, some had difficulty breathing while sleeping while others suffered from acne outbreaks. Breast and ankle swelling can also be considered rare immediate side-effects.

At the same time, the doctor administering the testosterone will keep a close eye on your red blood cell counts, seeing as high counts lead to clotting.

Cardiovascular Problems

Older men who use low testosterone therapy on a long-term basis are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems such as strokes, heart attacks, heart disease, etc.

Possible Prostate Cancer Stimulation

In terms of research, the conclusions between professionals are mixed on whether receiving the supplementary hormone can actually stimulate the development of prostate cancer. And given that there is no certainty on this matter, doctors tend to be cautious before prescribing the hormone replacement.

TRT Benefits

a guy with a lot of energy does a handstand on the beach after trt

While there are definitely risks involved, guys that struggle with low testosterone levels stand to benefit quite a bit from getting the therapy, although it’s always better to have an in-depth discussion with your doctor.

As for the benefits of using the therapy, the results are mostly based on claims and opinions. Up until this point, no conclusive scientific research has proven that low testosterone therapy can actually help to achieve any of the following:

  • More energy and you feel more positive
  • Increased sex drive
  • More confident in general
  • Mentally sharper
  • Maintained erections without ED medication

If the therapy hasn’t been effective on some level, doctors wouldn’t be prescribing it and millions of men won’t still be getting it.

However, there is something to keep in mind, and that is the long-term use of the hormone replacement. Are the immediate changes guys feel distracting them from the potential dangers they face down the line?

Because the idea of getting the passion back in your bedroom can cause quite a lot of excitement, which might see you throwing caution out the window.

Alternative Ways to Increase Testosterone

Chances are your doctor will ask whether you’ve tried alternative methods of boosting testosterone levels. In other words, more natural approaches without any risk. And the truth is that you can do it naturally by doing the following:

  • Get more active
  • Follow a specific and healthy diet
  • Learn to pace yourself
  • OTC supplements like Nugenix (learn┬ámore)

Speak to a dietician about foods that can help naturally or do some research online, but you are definitely not limited to prescription therapy. If anything, it should be regarded as a last resort.

Realistic Expectations

a guy with a lot of energy does a handstand on the beach after trt

Most doctors agree that men should always have realistic expectations regarding this type of therapy. Given that there is no real medical evidence to back up the claims, many guys find themselves disappointed with the results.

For example, it’s not necessarily the cure for erectile dysfunction. Firstly, ED can be just as much a mental problem as it is a physical problem. Secondly, there are cases where it boosts the sex drive, but the guy is still unable to perform. This only leaves him more frustrated than before.

Get An Accurate Diagnosis

According to several of the doctors interviewed by the Harvard team, many of the cases guys came in for didn’t have anything to do with their testosterone levels. And it’s based on too much false advertising creating paranoia among men.

If you are going to consult with your doctor, take the time to assess the signs mentioned earlier. The last thing you want is to get treated for low testosterone when the problem is something completely different.

Final Thoughts – Approach With A Lot Of Thought

As it turns out, low testosterone therapy has helped a lot of guys get their confidence back, in a manner of speaking. But it doesn’t dismiss the fact that it should be approached with caution and consideration. Luckily, doctors won’t just prescribe it right off the bat. Only after running several tests will they determine whether it’s the best course of action.